This practice is called the self-compassion break, and it’s something you can do
anytime during the day or at night when you need a little self-compassion.
So to practice this exercise, we actually need to call up a little suffering. So I’d invite you to think about a situation in your life right now that is difficult for you.
Maybe you’re feeling stressed or you’re having a relationship problem or you’re worried about something that might happen.
I’d invite you to think of something that is difficult but not overwhelmingly difficult, especially if you’re new to practicing the self-compassion break.
So finding a situation and getting in touch with it, what’s going on, what happened or what might happen, who said what, really bring the situation to life in your mind’s eye.
And then I’m going to be saying a series of phrases that are designed to help us
remember the three components of self-compassion when we need it most.
So the first phrase is this is a moment of suffering, right?
We’re bringing mindful awareness to the fact that suffering is present, and I’d invite you to find some language that speaks to you, something like this is really hard right now or I’m really struggling.
We’re actually turning toward our difficulty, acknowledging it, naming it. This is a moment of suffering. The second phrase is suffering is a part of life. Okay?
We’re reminding ourselves of our common humanity. Suffering is a part of life. And again, finding language that speaks to you, it may be something like it’s not abnormal to feel this way.
Many people are going through similar situations. Right? The degree of suffering may be different, the flavor of suffering may be different, but suffering is a part of life, part of being human.
And then the third phrase is may I be kind to myself in this moment?
And to support bringing kindness to yourself, I’d invite you to perhaps put your hands over your heart or some other place on your body that feels soothing and comforting, feeling the warmth of your hands, the gentle touch, letting those feelings of care stream through your fingers.
May I be kind to myself? And using any language that supports that sense of kindness, perhaps language you would use with a good friend you cared about
who was going through a very similar situation, you know?
It may be something like I’m here for you. It’s going to be okay. I care about you. You can even try using a diminutive if that feels comfortable, you know?
Oh, darling, I’m so sorry.
Or you can try calling yourself by your first name, anything that feels natural
to express your deep wish that you be well, and happy, and free from suffering.
And then letting go of the practice and noticing how your body feels right now,
allowing any sensations to be just as they are, allowing yourself to be
Write for 2 full minutes for each journaling prompt below. Once you’ve finished, take a minute to reread what you wrote and reflect.
1. Areas of my life where I can be more forgiving are…
2. If I were more forgiving of these areas, it would allow me to…
thank you. Really engaged in the session. I needed it.
Areas in my life where I can be more forgiving: where to begin? I can be downright unreasonable to myself in many ways. Perfectionism in uni assignments, anxiety around how other people may be perceiving me… it’s something I’m trying to work on, but that’s a long and difficult process. I am trying to judge myself fairer, trying to be more forgiving, and I hope this helps in some small way.
If I were more forgiving in these areas, it would allow me to be more confident. I wouldn’t have the odd tendencies I have now around qualifying and demeaning my own achievements without good reason. I would feel loved and accepted without any of the guilt or imposter-like negativity.